West of Westcott
826 Euclid Ave
- Built: 1900
- Architect: Unknown
Today’s Westcott Community Center was opened in 1903 as Engine House 10. After the site was chosen, construction was postponed until all of Euclid Avenue was paved. The building takes its inspiration from Flemish architecture, and the connection was more obvious before the stepped gables were simplified (see historic photo).
The brick building is typical of local Engine House architecture – it is distinctive and immediately recognizable as a particular type. Typically, Syracuse Engine Houses are located on a corner, are rectangular in shape, are two-stories with the ground level articulated by the big garage doors, and have a tower. Inside, the ground floor consists of the large open apparatus room, while upstairs a large space serves for sleeping, dressing and recreation quarters for the men of the fire engine company. The tower was actually used to dry canvas fire hoses – it is both a functional and iconic element.
As the most prominent public structure in the area (until local schools were erected), the tower of the firehouse complemented local church spires and also the impressive towers of contemporary Queen Anne style houses, like the large one at the corner of Euclid and Lancaster Avenues (Loomis House).
The building may have been designed by local architect Gordon Wright who designed many houses in the area and public buildings throughout the city.
An article in The Evening Herald (Dec. 15, 1903) described the opening of the Engine House with a ball attended by 200 people, the first social event held in what in recent years has been the Westcott Community Center.
“The residents of the upper end of the Seventeenth ward made merry last night at their new fire engine house No. 10 at Westcott street and Euclid avenue, which, despite shortage of men in the department, will be put in service to-morrow with a new steamer and hose wagon for the protection of the heights in the south-eastern part of the city. Westminster lodge No. 788, I.O.O.F. had charge of the celebration and gave a ball on the spacious apparatus room floor , which was attended by some two hundred people.”